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Unemployed feel bias when applying for jobs

If you are one of the unfortunate workers that were laid off during this recession and still haven't landed a full-time job in your field, you aren't alone. In many states unemployed workers are being discriminated against because they don't have a job and are realizing that you need a job in order to get a new job.

Workers across the United States have shared their experiences about being written off by a prospective employer if they have been out of work for six months or more and in some states, job ads have clearly stated that a candidate must be currently employed. Many states are taking a stand against this bias by considering legislation to prevent employers from discriminating against the unemployed.

Many advocacy groups feel that they need to change the perception of these employers and change their behavior and that legislation might break down these barriers. Others feel that while there may be some bias against the long-term unemployed, employers have the right to hire only the best candidates regardless of how long they have been out of work. They feel that legislation isn't necessary.

According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, they don't keep statistics on how many people have their unemployment status held against them because jobless workers aren't in a protected class.

The number of people affected by this bias is estimated to be high. According to nationwide figures, 43 percent of all unemployed workers have been without a job for more than six months.

Those pushing for the legislation feel that it may be hard to prove if an employer is being biased based on employment history, but also feel that something needs to be done to get these workers back to work. These workers shouldn't be penalized because they got laid off during one of the worst recessions in history.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Md legislation targets employer bias against unemployed," Eileen Ambrose, March 18, 2012

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